ASW Senate gathered in the Health, Wellness and Activity Center (HWAC) Monday night for its fourth and final meeting of the Fall semester.
Senate presented several pieces of legislation, including a resolution for making ACT/SAT scores optional for admission applications and a resolution to support the Equal Rights Amendment.
During these meetings, senators discuss possible changes on campus. Senators can present bills (legislation to make changes within ASW itself) or resolutions (legislation that can be presented to the administration to show student interest) during these general session meetings.
Once a bill or resolution is presented, Senate votes on the legislation to either enact it or table it for another session.
If a bill is passed, it enacts change right away inside ASW. However, when a resolution is enacted, change will not be immediate. Senate doesn’t have the power to implement resolutions in campus-wide policies, but ASW leaders can advocate for them showing student interest.
Some of the highlights from the meeting are below. For more information, visit The Forum Twitter page for live updates from the meeting.
Students address concerns of tuition increase during public comment
At the beginning of the meeting, Senate opened the floor for public comment for students to share concerns they have about on-campus policies.
Junior Marley Dominguez addressed concerns about the recent tuition increase for the next academic year, citing the consequences it leaves for students.
“This increase would drastically affect low-income students, international students, people of color and lower-middle class students,” Dominguez said. “The increase would have the effect of further homogenizing the student population, something the Diversity Statement of Westminster advocates against.”
Other students echoed her sentiments, pointing to a steadier increase as a possible solution to be included in a future resolution. Dominguez continued, asking Senate to push for student representation and insight in future similar administration decisions.
Resolution to make ACT/SAT scores in admissions optional
Senators passed a resolution presented by ASW Chief Justice Kate Pasco and Senator Jose Ortiz that proposes making ACT/SAT scores optional for admission applications.
“Standardized tests are discriminatory on the basis of race, ethnicity, class and gender,” Pasco said. “Even when test-takers are not penalized for incorrect answers.”
Ortiz and Pasco argued the tests don’t accurately show academic achievement because they’re rooted in sexism, racism, classism, etc.
ASW Clubs President Brendan Sudberry said this is something the Admissions Office has been working on. However, no decision has been officially made.
If the Admissions Office does decide to adopt this policy, it wouldn’t go into effect until Fall 2021, Sudberry said.
Resolution to sign in support of the Equal Rights Amendment
Senators Aaron Smith and Daud Mumin along with ASW President Maggie Regier presented a resolution supporting the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Westminster College is the first academic institution in Utah to propose this kind of resolution, according to the senators.
“We as ASW exclaim vehemently that our state of Utah must ratify the ERA so we can proudly stake our position in American history as the 38th state to pass this needed legislation,” Smith said. “This resolution acts as a step forward in the completion of this goal.”
The history of advocacy for equal protection under the law with respect to sex has become a more widespread topic because of reintroduced support for the ratification of the ERA.
Thirty-eight states are required to support the ERA for it to become a ratified amendment. So far, there are only 37 states in support, after Nevada and Illinois became the 36th and 37th states, respectively.
Through this resolution, ASW leaders are calling on other higher education institutions to pass similar legislation in support of the ERA. They also call for developed equal rights policies that protect against gender discrimination.
ASW also “stands with our non-binary, transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex siblings who may not achieve equal protection under this amendment,” Regier said.
The resolution was passed with a unanimous vote.